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The hostelling movement was born way back in 1909, when the very first ‘jugendherberge’ – or ‘youth hostel’ – opened its doors in the German countryside. The brains behind the idea? A schoolteacher by the name of Richard Schirrmann.
Schirrmann taught in smoggy Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr district of northern Germany, a heavily polluted industrial town – so he decided to introduce his pupils to the ‘classroom of the outdoors’ by taking them on walks in the countryside.
In August 1909, Schirrmann took his students on an eight-day walking tour from Altena to Aachen. On the first night the class was hosted by a hospitable farmer who gave them blankets, plums and fresh milk, and on the second night, a village schoolteacher sheltered the kids from a storm in an empty classroom.
As the rain thumped down outside, Schirrmann thought to himself: ‘What if school classrooms in good walking country could be turned into jugendherbergen during the holidays?’ And with that, the youth hostel movement was up and running.
YHA came to Australia in 1939 and our organisation is still going strong eight decades later, with 40 properties around the country ready to provide your school group with safe, affordable and quality accommodation.
More than a century since Schirrmann came up with that very first ‘jugendherberge’, education still lies at the core of what YHA does. Properties have sprung up in the city as well as the bush over the years, but the organisation has never lost sight of Schirrmann’s original philosophy of education and friendship.
Learning is central to YHA’s mission, “To provide opportunity for all, but especially young people, for education by personal development, fostering friendship and bringing about a better understanding of others and the world around them.” Education also runs through YHA’s six core values: to be sustainable, reliable, ethical, loyal, quality and diverse.
YHA is a not-for-profit organisation. That doesn’t mean we don’t make money – it just means we re-invest earnings back into our network of properties to give our guests the best possible experience. We’re driven to provide your class with a good experience of travel to help them develop a love of seeing the world… and learn plenty along the way, too.
YHA offers a great range of budget group accommodation all across the country, with secure, comfortable and affordable properties in every state and territory around Australia. Whatever the purpose of your school trip – from curriculum-based excursions to extra-curricular activities like sport, music and drama – our 40 properties are well equipped to welcome your group.
Sydney Harbour YHA (pictured below) in the heart of the historic Rocks precinct is built above an archaeological dig site, with The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre on site plus a range of curriculum education programs curated by Sydney Learning Adventures.
Magnetic Island YHA has revealed a new niche product called Edu Tourism, bringing high school students together with some of Tropical North Queensland’s premier educators, and giving them a hands-on introduction to North Queensland’s diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Canberra City YHA is centrally located to all the capital’s top educational attractions – with PACER rebates available to subsidise your excursion – and Fremantle Prison YHA is situated within WA’s only UNESCO World Heritage listed building, Fremantle Prison.
Coffs Harbour YHA organises school packages with local suppliers while Blue Mountains YHA (pictured below) in Katoomba is located right on the doorstep of breathtaking national parks. And that’s only a handful of the dozens of safe, clean and affordable properties that are waiting to welcome your class.
Your group can also enjoy a whole YHA to themselves with the Rent-A-YHA scheme – several of our properties are available for exclusive use to give your group a little more privacy.